In my mind, he’s the guy who won three World Series rings with the guys over in the Bronx. He’s also the guy who broke down right before the 2006 playoffs and forced the Mets to cobble together a playoff rotation with John Maine and Oliver Perez.
To tell the truth, I think I’d rather spend time writing about Ollie. But it looks like El Duque is finally going to call it a career. He didn’t do too badly for the Mets – when he was able to take the field, anyway. In 47 games over two seasons, Hernandez was 18-12 with a 3.88 ERA.
Hernandez retires with a 90-65 lifetime major league record and a 4.13 ERA. He’s got four World Series rings – in addition to his three with the Yankees, El Duque also picked one up with the 2005 Chicago White Sox – and he was the MVP of the 1999 ALCS. Not a bad career at all.
After failing to get an in-person autograph last year when Hernandez was trying to make a comeback with the Washington Nationals’ Double-A affiliate, the Harrisburg Senators, I bought this card from another collector this spring.
Perez will report to Nationals minor-league camp, where he’ll work with pitching coordinator Spin Williams. Williams was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching coach in 2004 when Perez went 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 239 strikeouts, and team officials hope the two can work well together again and solve the lefty’s mechanical woes.
Zuckerman speculates that Perez could open the season with AAA Syracuse.
I didn’t have luck on either count. El Duque pitched Friday, the game I didn’t go to. The only time I caught a glimpse of him all weekend was when the Senators went out on the field for team handshakes at the end of Saturday’s win.
He didn’t sign many autographs, either. I heard that he signed for one or two kids. For the most part, he ignored people. I was hoping he’d be more fan-friendly, but I’m not terribly surprised that he wasn’t.
Fortunately, there was still the fun of watching baseball and spending time with friends.
Pitcher Orlando Hernandez filed for free agency yesterday. El Duque was a key part of the Mets’ regular season success in 2006 after coming over from Arizona in exchange for reliever Jorge Julio. The oft-injured pitcher was a useful member of the Mets’ rotation when healthy.
However, he missed the entire 2008 season due to injury. At his age – whatever it may really be – I can’t see any team taking a chance on Hernandez. He had a good career, and he’ll always be remembered in New York. (Just not as a Met)